DWJ's Faults [now has Deep Secret spoilers]

Kyla Tornheim kyla at sccs.swarthmore.edu
Mon Mar 11 19:33:55 EST 2002

On Mon, 11 Mar 2002, Elizabeth Parks wrote:

> To build on a discussion--my friend just im'd me with the line "DWJ can't
> write relationships, I've noticed."  AFter I stopped sputtering, I
> demanded to know _what_ she was talking about: here are bits I snipped:
> "I've read about eight of the books and every relationship is contrived
> and
> thrown together in the last quarter of the book."  Example: "Blade and
> that Empire chick from Year of the Griffin"
> "Right now I'm reading Deep Secrets, and I'm having problems with the
> Rupert/Maree thing. ;-). . .  He picks her up and it's "the most sexual
> experience" he's
> ever had?" (right after she gets split)
> "It seems highly, highly contrived."
Well, speaking as someone who just finished rereading the book, I disagree
about the contrived nature of it. I think it's much more that Rupert has a
romantic notion about Maree before he meets her, and it's utterly
shattered when he does meet her. Then he doesn't see her for six weeks, is
filled with rage, and while trying to make sure that she doesn't show up
at the con manages to ensure that she does.

*Then*, however, after the initial horrified lack of contact, they
connect over their negative reaction to Ted Mallory's approach to writing,
and start liking each other as people. And the relationship builds from

I think a common thread throughout DWJ's books is people *realizing*
they're in love with other people. Hexwood has a particularly obvious
example of this.

> "It just doesn't seem to be okay with her for opposite sex main characters
> not to end up together.... and considering how independent she makes
> everyone everywhere else, I find it very troublesome."
Eh. As Venkarel said, many of her books have children as the main
characters. I mean, yeah, I sorta wondered if Vivian and Jonathan might
end up together years down the road, but it's not like that in most of the

I do think that the books in which people do get together have a sense of
fate and certainty about the relationship, and that, like so many of DWJ's
themes, come from her own life. In her bio, there's something about when
she first met her husband--he was standing in the hall, and she looked at
him and thought, "I'm going to marry him. But I don't even know if I like

I guess the main thing is that I don't think the relationships come out of
nowhere; I see them as unexpected the first time I read the book, but that
doesn't make it bad, it means that things weren't blindingly obvious.

And also, I agree with basically everything Venkarel said. :^)

A word to the wise ain't necessary--it's the stupid ones
that need the advice.
       --Bill Cosby

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